Sunday, April 22, 2007

Is Deaf Child Area Sign Effective?

Barb DiGi opens with a joke then discusses the Wisconsin State Journal article about the city council not giving in the request immediately by a hearing mother of a deaf child about having the sign "Deaf Child Area" erected in the street. How effective are these signs really? Update to comments: Thanks J Womick for the link! Glad you enjoyed the joke everybody! Although I have two deaf children, I don't fight for having this such sign on my street since having stop signs are much more effective.



April 18, 2007

SUN PRAIRIE - When Cary Murphy asked the city of Sun Prairie a couple of weeks ago to put up a traffic sign for her deaf daughter, she had no idea it would set off such a controversy. But that's what happened when city officials said they wanted to consider her request rather than simply put up a sign. The resulting tempest has put both Murphy and Mayor Joe Chase in the spotlight in a way neither anticipated.

"I don't have a clue about any of this stuff," Murphy said. "I'm a 24-year-old kid with three kids."

Murphy is the mother of Natiya Ballard, who turns 1 today. She's also the mother of Malakai Murphy, 4, and 1-month-old Dezirae Murphy. Cary Murphy, who is looking for a job, was born in Portage but has lived in Sun Prairie on and off since 1991 and considers the city her hometown.

Natiya was born deaf, Murphy said. In all other respects, she said, Natiya is a "typical 1 year old" who has been walking for about a month and a half, though she's "not real sturdy" yet.

When Murphy asked the city to put up a "deaf child' sign near her house at 301 Sweet Grass Drive, officials hesitated because they wanted to review their procedures in such a case and because they knew traffic experts believe such signs aren't always effective.

Chase said he would have ordered a sign if he thought the situation was urgent.

"I didn't take any immediate action on it because it was not an emergency," he said. "In the event of an emergency, I would have made a decision right away."

Instead, Chase decided to let city staff and the City Council take a look at the question.

And that's where area media came in. Murphy's story has appeared on local TV news broadcasts and it has been fodder for radio talk shows. Casey Hoff, who has talked about Murphy's quandary on his show on WTDY-AM (1670), plans to broadcast from Murphy's front yard this morning.

The resulting spotlight has flummoxed both Murphy and Chase.

"I really just wish they would just put up this stupid sign and let it go away," Murphy said.

"It's an emotional issue, and if we offer rational information to the public, they consider us to be irrational by not taking an immediate stance on this," Chase said.

Part of what's making Chase pause is what traffic experts say. Such signs cause drivers to slow down in the short term, said Matt Rauch, a signing engineer with the state Department of Transportation. But "over time, motorists will tend to ignore the sign and, as a result, the sign will lose its effectiveness," he said.

The worry is that such signs "would send a false sense of security to parents and the children that motorists are going to watch out for them when there's a likelihood they won't watch out for them," Rauch said.

The solution, he said, could be for police to enforce speed limits or to increase visibility by removing obstructions, such as vegetation or parked vehicles.

The Sun Prairie Police Department began measuring the speed of traffic on Sweet Grass Drive on Monday morning. The results won't be available until after the study is finished Friday, said Rem Brandt, a police spokesman.

Meanwhile, the City Council is looking into the matter. The council's Public Works Committee held a hearing on April 11, where about 20 people - including Murphy - spoke, both for and against the city's stance.

"I choked because I didn't know what to say," Murphy said.

The council will consider the question next, though it has yet to be scheduled. Chase said he expects that will happen soon.

"What's rational, what would be prudent in this particular case is if we set up a policy where we make sure it's a good policy in the future," Chase said.


LaRonda said...

Ha! Cute joke! I'd probably slow down for a nudist colony too! Makes you wonder what that priest has been up to though! (wink);)

I wonder if the Deaf Child Area signs could flash. Maybe people would slow down more. Not sure. I know that when the police set out those little speed machines that tell you how fast you are going, a lot of people slow down for them. Maybe that would work better in deaf child areas.

Thanks for sharing your sense of humor.

~ LaRonda

Steve said...

Loved the humor which cracked me up!
LaRonda made a good point about flashing light or speed indicator which worked for one street I know in Livermore. Everyone slowed down since then.

Chuck Baird said...

I have always wondered about its effectivenes, too.

I have noticed the signs up around and still there almost forever. Maybe it'd be good for 5 to 7 years. And by the time the deaf child got old enough to know the safety, the sign should be pulled out but never they never bothered to. The neighbors know that the sign was there too long and ignore it and speeded up.

The One and Only Ridor said...

Hi Barb:

Loved that joke! However, Mom told me that the City of Hopewell offers Mom and Dad to erect "Deaf Child Area" since they had 4 deaf kids. Mom rejects it.

Her argument to that? It invites gawkers. And there are many hearing children playing and they are more likely to get hit by deaf children!

Point taken, Mom.


The One and Only Ridor said...

I mean, THAN, not BY. Me dofus today.


Dennis said...

Okay, bad driver here.

I think the city has the right idea. Mind you I hear, and don't sign (long story) so I have no iodea what your vlog said.

However, in my area, we have those 'Children Playing' signs, they do no good. Town finally had to put in rather large 'speed humps' which seem to work very well.

jwomick said...

oh HEY! good see u on videoclip again! by the way u talk about deaf child area signal i have it it's mine on the road it's old. i just want put pic so what it's look like i hope it's work show pic if not i will figure out how make it work pic on ur comment if not then i will have to put url site then...... here ya go


u asked people if it's work? NOPE it's not but old time i was kid yup it's work but now today YOUNGER dont' care about it they think cool to be speed OH GOSH!

Joshua "Vampbat" Womick

jwomick said...

sorry blogger won't accept open HTML TAG oh well have to open this site u will see my pic there

Joshua "Vampbat" Womick

mochame said...

So funny about nudist colony (sign). I know it does not help people not notice or speed up while the "DEAF CHILD AREA. That not fair when the construction sign "SLOW", these people seen the sign and they will slow down. Only way, the traffic for city or county need to set up eye camera to warning sign with the DEAF CHILD AREA. Driver have to pay the fine for 50 dollars to help the DEAF charities. (my opinion)

Dianrez said...

My experience: when we moved to a house on a corner, immediately our hearing kids complained about the screech of cars turning the corner too fast. At all hours, day and night, SCREEE!

I worried because two of my kids were under age 2 and one was deaf. You can yell "stop" if the hearing toddler ran toward the street but what can you do about the deaf one except to keep him within reach at all times? So I asked for a Deaf Child sign and the town said they would put one up until the kids turned 14. It doesn't replace vigilance, but it did help.
A stop sign about 800 feet behind that corner did not succeed in making cars stop, even when a cop occasionally parked there to catch the "coasters", but that Deaf Child sign seemed to quiet the screeching around the corner.

The town took away the sign when the deaf kid turned 14. A few weeks later, the SCREEEE!s started again.
Just an observation.

Candace A McCullough said...

That's a good one about the nudist colony sign! We at ASC wrote a post a while ago on Deaf Child signs. Here is the link...

Karen said...

Love that joke!

Anonymous said...

Barb, it wont work because Deaf Child area still is near my parents two signs, I almost get hit by car everytime I went to check mail.I told my parents that signs of Deaf Child area didnot work anyway for my deaf brother and me too. I still see them side of road lol.I think that people should put something computer with mph to make people parniod if cop is watching them because I passed by any public school that computer with mph showed how fast I drove to make me parniod if cop is watching me or not. what do you think about comptuer with mph on the road?

Karen said...

Whether the sign works or not. I dont care if it works or not. The mother wants it. The sign was donated by one family and cash was raised by other to cover the cost of installing, absolutely at no cost to the city. So what is the city's problem?? Why are they arguing about it? Eyesore? Embarrassing that there is a deaf child in town? It is a shame that the mother had to fight for it.

IamMine said...

Yeah, I've heard of a similar joke. :D

This similar joke was with a farmer who was concerned with drivers who was killing his chickens and after several attempts, the farmer came up with this sign:

"Nudist colony. Watch out for chicks"


Laughing aside... I had a Deaf Child sign when I was little.

I do notice that people drive slower than average because they think uh oh one of those deaf kids might not have seen me coming!

I don't know about the regular drivers who have seen that sign all the time, but for the "new" drivers in area probably will.

I don't see why not give it to the mother who requested for one...

Who cares about research - worry about THEIR OWN area and it would give that mother a sense of security - knowing that other people will take responsibilities of their own action and also benefit other hearing children.

I think there are signs that say "Child Play" that cautions the drivers as well. Supposedly.

But the driver's first thought is HONKING to get them out of the way if the driver is too close to get their attention.

A deaf child not catching that message...

I know many will say we will see the cars coming... but there ARE times that I don't see cars coming - especially with my back against the opposite direction.


John Lestina --- said...

Response to Barb DiGi CLICK HERE

Jessica said...

Hi Barb,

Just sent you a email to find a time to talk to you. Thanks.

About your vlog, yep, still see some of those signs around even when the deaf child has grown up and moved away and it is still there.

Anonymous said...

HI everyone, all mother have deaf kids and they should control thier deaf kids staying a rage road. Save their money to pay taxes. I always tell kids *donnot cross the road* I don't understand why a mother let kids on the rage road. Is that why they have no communtion with deaf kids? Isn't it hard to communtion? my mother always tell me *stay away the rage road* it isnot hard to control. today is all mothers are too lazy!

Angie said...

Hi Barb,

I sure enjoyed your vlog - I always do. You have such a great way of sharing information and inspiring conversation.

On a similar note, in my parent's neighborhood some people put up a "Children Playing" sign. It's yellow, bright and in the shape of a child running. My parents were actually annoyed that they would do this (I'm not exactly sure why). However, I watch my hearing children outside as much as I watch my deaf child outside. Interestingly the deaf child is 10 and doesn't actually need as much supervision as he is such an intent follower of the rules.

Drivers need to be responsible for driving the speed limits, but parents need to be more responsible for making sure their children, deaf or hearing, are watched over while they are playing outside. We can't keep putting the safety and responsibility of our kids into someone elses hands.

Thank you for the great topic!

Anonymous said...

Once I saw a sign deaf child area. I don't think it is a good idea,it's a bad sign. Why...of course it's sign for sexual perdator or rapist to catch a deaf child. The best thing is mother or father teach them to stay away from the street or road. Also if a stranger tries take their hand is to scream and keep screaming as loud as they can if they do have oral speech.

Michele said...

Hi Barb, thanks for the laugh! I enjoyed the joke!

Anyway, when I was growing up, we lived in a neighborhood that had back alleys. One day, I was riding a bike and I attempted to cross over the back alley sidewalk and somehow a 1950's Ford car hit me, I instantly fell backwards on the air and crashed on the grass. I remember this situation very vividly and then jumped on my bike and rode home. Then the man came over (he was our neighbor - I didn't recognize him then) and profusely apologized and wanted to know if I was okay. Of course, I was okay but shaking and shocked. I don't know if this accident could have been prevented or not, I don't remember how we crashed into each other.

I have two hearing children, I taught them the rules of the road, make sure they always check back and forth before crossing over, and not to play on the street. I think if you emphasize the rules to them over and over, they will learn. As for deaf children, I know how hard it is to yell at them if a car is speeding to "move over!" or whatever, it can happen at a split second and you won't have a chance to run over and push the child aside. I think it is just a matter of education, adequate supervision, letting neighbors know that you have a deaf child, and if you live on a very busy street or where people are tempted to speed, then a sign would be ideal but it will NOT prevent accidents, it will give you a false security just like what happened to me above.

mule4350 said...

IT sound awesome idea tto traffic sign for Deaf Child area but to depend where are area? IF there have any convicts and see theh sign for posibly trouble for break in,rape etc. Be catiuous with any area with sign of DEAF thing. We have Kamipaety Camp ( INDIAN call DEAF CAMP ) next province

I hope my reply may help your question!

Anonymous said...

Anita said... You are so funny I like that joke..

Anonymous said...

Hi Barb,

Love love love your joke! Will have to tell this to my hubby!

I would have to agree with Angie 100%!! I feel excatly the same way.

You know what's funny tho, my husband who is hearing and I got into a heated arguement about this very subject last year: he thinks it is no big deal, I think it is a very big deal.

My other fear is that, if a crazie (there are plenty of them out there!) knows that there is a sign like this and comes to find out that I am a Deaf mother with children along with knowing that my husband works out of town alot -he can break in and do something stupid. There is no way in hell that I would take that chance at all.

So with that being said, I think the parents just need to take extra care in watching their children regardless if they are hearing or Deaf.

Just my two cents worth.

Kelly -

Oscar the Observer said...

Responding here :).

C said...

I'm not sure whether the signs work or not, but I do slow down when I see kids outside their house with any signs - children playing, Deaf child, Blind Child, etc. I wonder if the city measured the difference whether there were kids outside or not?

She's a taxpayer, she wants the sign, give it to her.

More than 20 years ago, cities don't make a controversy out of things like this. Times have change.

And it became a fodder for radio talk shows? Says a lot, eh?

Cassie said...

Hi just want to say first I've visited your blog several times & enjoy it very much. I also liked the joke you told about how traffic finally slowed down, it figures, doesn't it?

Well, about the sign...not only does my neighborhood have a "deaf child area" sign it's also got one for a "blind child area". These signs are on the same road, less than 1/4 mile from each other. And does it make a difference? No.

People are in just too much of a hurry to get nowhere fast.

jwomick said...

HEY BARB! oh i saw my pic on there! SURE anytime i giad to help and more discuss about it. if i move out i will steal that sign with me cuz NOTHING ONE who is deaf neighbor i am only one so i bring it with me if i have deaf children then i will set it up :D. oops shhhies heheheheh. but i glad u got my pic so it's good show what it's look like so it's REAL one. alright keep up with discuss issues ;-)

Joshua "Vampbat" Womick